The role of the Mankato Area Youth Symphony Orchestras is to educate young musicians in a professional symphony atmosphere, to give opportunity to perform a wide variety of symphonic music, and to provide a variety of music education formats. It is our purpose to help prepare the young musician for participation in the world of symphonic music, either as a professional musician or as a patron of the arts.

The Mankato Area Youth Symphony Orchestra has been presenting concerts in our communities and teaching students for 54 years.

We now offer several unique opportunities for students to play music including Mankato Area Youth Symphony Orchestra, Youth Philharmonic, NorthStar Strings, Chamber Orchestra, Youth Wind Ensemble, Summer Orchestra, and Summer Jazz.

Upcoming Ensembles and Performance Opportunities


Our 2019 fall season is underway! If you are interested in playing but missed our fall auditions, please contact us at info@mayso.net to let us know of your interest and schedule an audition. We will consider late registrations on an individual basis.

If you are looking for a few more details on our audition process, click here to go to our Audition page.


North Star Strings

North Star Strings (NSS) is an introductory orchestra for students and prepares them for YP. The goal of this ensemble is to introduce students to ensemble playing and help develop note reading. Students in this orchestra will have been playing for 1-3 years in lessons.

Youth Philharmonic

Youth Philharmonic (YP) is the preparatory orchestra for the Symphony Orchestra. YP students should expect to see challenging key signatures (up to 4 flats/sharps), challenging rhythms, and shift into higher positions. These students will typically be in Suzuki books 3-5 or the equivalent and have been playing for 3-6 years.

Youth Symphony Orchestra

The Youth Symphony Orchestra is our most advance orchestra offering. These students will typically be in Suzuki books 5 and above and piece difficulty will be in the 4 and above range. Think college level music.

Youth Wind Ensemble in Partnership with River Valley Winds Ensemble

The Youth Wind Ensemble is our new program is designed to provide an additional offering for brass, woodwinds, string bass, piano, harp and percussion players ages 14 and up. All students are welcome to join this group without audition.